What Mountain Range Separates Norway and Sweden?

Scandinavian countries are famous for their common history, language, and spectacular landscapes. The mountain range that falls between Norway and Sweden not only creates awe-inspiring views but also acts as a natural border between the two countries. 

The Scandinavian Mountains separate Norway and Sweden.

The north side of the mountains makes the border between Norway and Sweden, while the western side makes Norway’s fjords.

The highest peak of the Scandinavian Mountains is Galdhøpiggen in Norway, which stands at 8,100 ft (2,469 m).

This article will go into more detail about how the Scandinavian Mountains impact climate, landscape, and tourism in Norway and Sweden.

Also, see How Big Is Iceland? to learn more.

What Are the Scandes?

The Scandinavian Mountains are also known as the Scandes. They consist of 137 mountains, making them Europe’s largest mountain range.

They run through the western Scandinavian Peninsula and form some of the Baltic Shield [1]. 

The rocks that form the Scandes are about 400 million years old, and the Scandinavian Mountains themselves are among the steepest in the world. 

The mountain range was formed about 70 million years ago by a collision between the Baltic and North American continental plates.

Its western side ends in the Norwegian and North Seas [2]. The Eastern side is in Sweden.

The majority of the Scandes falls in Norway. The northern section of the mountain range runs through western Sweden.

The mountains’ north side separates Norway and Sweden by acting as their border. 

Finland is also home to a small part of the Scandes, although technically, Finland isn’t a Scandinavian country. The mountain range is known as Skandit in Finland.

The Scandinavian Mountains aren’t very high, but they make a stunning landscape consisting primarily of forests, coastlines, tundra, lakes, and fjords [3]. 

What Is the Weather Like in the Scandes?

The Atlantic Ocean’s weather system influences the climate around the Scandinavian Mountains.

Though generally on the colder side, the weather in the mountains has some variations.

The mountain range also affects the climate of Norway and Sweden.

Here is how the weather changes during each season:

  • Spring: Spring begins around April, with pleasant weather during the daytime. Temperatures during the day can range between 50 and 59°F (10 and 15°C). However, temperatures at night in higher areas can fall below freezing. Spring can last until early June, and valley floors may not have snow in May. 
  • Summer: The summer season brings more warmth. Temperatures can go as high as 86°F (30°C). The air can be moist and warm in these conditions. Some higher peaks can get snow by the end of August. The days get longer, and the landscape gets a little greener. 
  • Winter: The weather gets significantly colder in September and October with the arrival of autumn and winter. Snow also starts to settle on the mountains around the same time. The mountains get even snow coverage in March. Temperatures can go below freezing, reaching as low as 30°F (-1°C). Tourists visiting the mountain range during winter can only see snow-covered peaks. 

Impact of the Scandes on Norway and Sweden

Here is how the Scandes affect the landscape of the two countries:

  • The mountain range makes Norway’s climate marine. The altitude of the mountains is higher in Norway, which decreases the overall temperature in the country. 
  • On the other hand, Sweden has a continental climate as it falls under the Scandes’ rain shadow [4]. 
  • Some of the highest Scandes peaks can be found in Norway. The six highest peaks are in Oppland, and four are in Sogn og Fjordane. The highest peak in Norway is Galdhpiggen Mountain.
  • The highest peak in Sweden is Kebnekaise.
  • Sweden has 12 peaks higher than 6,500 ft (1,981 m). 
  • The mountain range has some of Europe’s largest glaciers, most of which are in Norway. 

Can Tourists Visit the Scandes?

The Scandes is a beautiful mountain range with plenty of activities for tourists. They can go hiking, cycling, and even trailing.

Accommodation is also quite reasonably priced: there are excellent lodges and cabins around the mountain range.

Here are some activities tourists can enjoy:

Snowboarding and Skiing 

Tourists can come during winter to enjoy recreational snowboarding and skiing. 

Norway is one of the best places to enjoy skiing in the Scandes.

The country has many ski resorts, small and large. Many resorts and trails are closer to populated areas, making it easier for tourists to access them.

The best time for skiing is between November and May. Tourists can learn the sport from top-notch ski instructors and enjoy well-kept ski trails.

Since the peak tourist season in Scandinavia is during the summer, tourists won’t encounter large crowds in the city in winter, making it easier and more affordable to get accommodation. 


There are excellent hiking trails that run through the picturesque Scandes landscape. Hikers can also enjoy camping if they’re going on long hiking trips.

Most camping sites require no permits for pitching tents. This makes camping while hiking easy to organize. 

There are many hiking tours for tourists that take them through the Scandinavian Mountains. These tours opt for the safest and most accessible trails within the mountain range.

Most trails are suitable for recreational hikers and those with beginner hiking skills. 

The Cross-border Hike

Tourists can enjoy the best of the Scandes by going on a cross-border hike. The most famous trail, the Arctic Trail, takes hikers through the borders of Sweden, Norway, and Finland [5]. 

Covering the trail on foot takes about 9 to 11 days. The trail cuts through the breathtaking landscape of the Scandes wilderness, allowing hikers to experience the full glory of the mountain range. 

Cabins and Camping

The Scandinavian Mountains are home to more than 500 cabins offering decent accommodation.

Plus, tourists can set up camp almost anywhere: there is no shortage of space for campers thanks to the freedom to roam that Scandinavian countries offer.

They can even set up camp on private property unless instructed otherwise.

Tourists can also enjoy camping during hiking tours to experience the wilderness of the mountain range.  

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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